Ouachita National Forest is one of the oldest and largest national forests in the South. The forest sits primarily in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma and offers a spectacular scenic mountain view of underdeveloped oak trees at an elevation of over 2,500 feet. It's centrally located near Arkansas' highly popular cultural and historical sites and offers hunting, isolated camping, scenic driving, and a spectacular sightseeing adventure. The 1.6 million-acre forest also contains rivers, streams, and lakes, providing fishing, boating, and swimming opportunities. Whether you're a local or are traveling from another state, you'll enjoy a visit to this forest and will enjoy mild to warm temperatures throughout your stay.
Camping in Ouachita National Forest
A variety of services can be found at developed campgrounds nearby that include full-service RV hookups. With an RV, you can experience the solitude of the forest and still come home to a warm, comfortable bed. Whether you're an RV pro or haven't yet had the chance to experience the RV lifestyle, it's wonderful to have your own living space. When you rent an RV from RVshare, you'll have campers, fifth-wheels, big rigs, and more to select from to suit your family's budget and size.
Oden RV Sites
Oden RV Sites offers a total of 30 RV campsites that are equipped with electric, water, and sewer hookups. There are well over 29 acres for exploring with a pond for swimming and fishing opportunities. The house RV sites are close to the restrooms, showers, picnic area, and main house. There is also a church RV site section on the far end that overlooks the local Oden Baptist Church. A playground, grill area, and dump station are a few things available at this campground.
Fourche Mountain Recreation Area
Fourche Mountain Recreation Area sits near Highway 27 in the northern end of the Ouachita Mountains, offering a rustic camping experience in a secluded section of the national forest. This campground offers five primitive sites with no hookups on a first-come, first-served basis, so no reservation is required.
Treasure Isle RV Park
Treasure Isle RV Park sits on Lake Hamilton just northwest of Hot Springs off of Highway 270 and features 45 pull-through and 20 back-in, full-service sites with electric, water, and sewer hookups. The park is known for its Oaklawn horse racing, luxurious bathhouse, and historic downtown area. As a matter of fact, it’s also one of the top 10 campgrounds and RV parks in Arkansas. Other amenities include Wi-Fi, DirecTV, a laundry facility, bathhouses, and a swimming pool.
Highway 27 Fishing Village
Highway 27 Fishing Village is located in Ouachita National Forest and has swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, and biking opportunities. The campground offers waterfront campsites with electric and water hookups. A convenience store, bait shop, and boat dock with gas pump are available onsite.
Activities in Ouachita National Forest
Whether you're looking to relax in complete solitude or take advantage of the amazing recreational activities at Ouachita National Forest, you'll have plenty of nature to view. Bring your off-highway vehicles, and head to the 600-acre Renegade Ranch OHV trail. Horse owners love the popular Billy Creek Trail, Fourche Mountain Trail, and Sugar Creek Equestrian. These trails are also great for hiking and mountain biking and are rated as moderate to difficult. They are also ideal for bird watching, geocaching, and observing wildlife.
The 40,100-acre Lake Ouachita State Park is in the Ouachita National Forest, making it ideal for fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and boating opportunities.
Identifying Flora and Fauna
The Ouachita Mountains are known for their east-west ridges. However, the north-facing slopes are much cooler and retain moisture, providing the perfect habitat for hardwoods to thrive. In contrast, the pines thrive on the south-facing slopes that are mostly hot and dry. Little sunlight reaches the forest floor, creating a ground cover of primarily leaves with very little growth of the legumes, forbs, and grass.
How to get to Ouachita National Forest
Address: 100 Reserve Street, Hot Springs, AR 71902
Fee: Entry fee $0
The Ouachita National Forest offers multiple days of nature-viewing opportunities. With over 30 trails, you can easily find one with very little traffic to seclude yourself within the forest. Whether you go camping in the deepest part of the woods or at a nearby full-service campground, an RV is the perfect way to experience the Ouachita National Forest.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ouachita National Forest
What is the best time to visit Ouachita National Forest?
The best time to visit the Ouachita National Forest is during the fall months. The summer crowds will be gone, but the weather is still mild enough for visitors to hike and enjoy the forest.
Does Ouachita National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, Ouachita National Forest offers free camping sites. Dispersed camping is allowed throughout the forest and does not cost. Campers need to leave the area better than they found it and pack out all trash at the end of their trip.
Is there a fee to get into Ouachita National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into Ouachita National Forest. There may be fees for certain recreational activities like camping in developed campgrounds or for using certain day-use areas.
Is there a limit to how long you can camp in Ouachita National Forest?
Yes, there is a limit to how long you can camp in Ouachita National Forest. Dispersed camping is allowed for up to 30 days in one spot. After 30 days, campers must move at least 5 road miles before setting up camp again. They cannot return to the same campsite within one calendar year.
What type of wildlife lives in Ouachita National Forest?
Wildlife in Ouachita National Forest includes fox, coyotes, roadrunners, deer, turkeys, and squirrels. There is a variety of other small animals, raptors, birds, reptiles, and other creatures who make the forest their home as well.